Our new NFC South Lead Writer at Bleacher Report, Knox Bardeen, says we must find a way to re-sign Greg Hardy. Basically his reasoning is that it would hurt us too much not to sign him, but of course his premise seems to be based solely upon the belief that Hardy may be productive to the tune of at least 10 sacks per year for the next six years.
Bardeen, who draws a comparison to Julius Peppers' situation from age 26-30, when Peppers put up 40 sacks. Hardy will be 26 in June, but at this point I have a difficult time believing that he is going to put up those types of numbers, especially if Johnson is not here the whole time, but who knows?
The numbers Hardy could put up elsewhere over the next four to six years might be staggering. From age 26 to 30, Peppers tallied 40.5 sacks. Add in two more seasons and that total rises to 59.5.
Hardy could easily eclipse those numbers.
If Hardy is going to do better than 60 sacks over the next six seasons, it would be absolutely insane for Carolina to let him do that for another team. One of the biggest priorities for general manager Dave Gettleman over the next few months is to sign Hardy to a long-term deal.
A long-term deal is really the only real answer. Carolina should forget about the franchise tag.
Now, I definitely believe that Bardeen has a point about a long term deal being the only real answer. Other than a sign and trade (or a tag, sign and trade), a long term deal may be better than dragging things out and ultimately ending up with nothing or in a worse fiscal situation than we're in now. I can't really see G-man putting us in a worse situation. G-man has already alluded to the fact that sometimes you have to let big dogs walk.
To me, it seems that Bardeen is looking from the perspective of an overly emotional Panthers fan, as opposed to seeing the bigger picture.
Sure, signing Hardy to a long-term deal is going to hurt a bit to a franchise that’s already in salary-cap hell. But watching Hardy sack quarterbacks for another team and attend Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl for the next four to six years would be absolute misery.
Yeah it would hurt losing Hardy, but I doubt it would be "absolute misery" because in the mid to long term we may be a more fiscally sound organization, able to make more moves in free agency not only to address Hardy's loss, but other needy positions as well. Furthermore, Bardeen fails to mention the developing talent at DE that we already have. Moreover, he didn't mention the fact that Hardy---whatever the reason---disappeared in a few games. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have Hardy back for a six year deal that doesn't keep us stressed over the budget, but so far nothing in Hardy's demeanor or public remarks about his contract leads me to believe he is going to accept anything less than top dollar. But I don't think that G-man is going to make the sacrifice, and take the risks that come with it, and sign what he perceives as a bad deal.